Before Day Scholar – Patna Roughcut by Siddharth Chowdhury

The writer of the latest source of curiosity, Day Scholar, Siddharth Chowdhury’s earlier novel Patna Roughcut resembles another novel from Altaf Tyrewala – especially with the way the narrative of the book has been treated. The story has been told from multiple points of view, though there is a protagonist in the book – Ritwik Ray, a reporter with a newspaper in Patna. For readers, while waiting for the release of Day Scholar from Siddharth Chowdhury, you can definitely satiate some of your thirst with Patna Roughcut (if you haven’t read it already).
Several Themes Run Concurrently
Siddharth Chowdhury writes that his hero Ritwik attended a university in Delhi and then decided not to stay back in Delhi. Instead, he went to his hometown (Patna) so he could write a book of stories. There are several themes running concurrently in Patna Roughcut – the relationship between a large city and a small town, sexual awakening, middle class prejudices and formation of a personality at a time when we are open to outside influences. The author puts forward a thought that what looks like a personality to us is actually relationships and whatever influences we inherited from others.
Strong Influences in Ritwik’s Life
The first two sections of Patna Roughcut are told by the protagonist Ritwik in first person which deal with his early life. The characters who dominated his life are Harryda, a person who wanted to write stories for films and lived a stylish lifestyle. He was a high living, hard drinking and good looking personality but the spirit behind the man was broken up when his love affair ended badly. Iladi is also an important character of the book whose life is shattered by the reality (apart from Harryda). She is an idealist, a Marxist, who died at the hands of a mob while participating in a protest march. Ritwik writes about Iladi saying she was the first person whose secret world of the mind was better and more real than mundane so called real world.
Consistently Interesting Prose All the Time
The prose written by Siddharth Chowdhury is consistently interesting all the time, and you’ll notice several instances where he doesn’t need a comma when others would have used plenty. He also has an eye for detail through which he observes characters both from the real world perspective and then through imagination. By reading this book, you know very well what to expect when you read Day Scholar by Siddharth Chowdhury.
Last Section Is Narrated By Mira
The last section of the book, narrated in first person by Ritwik’s ex-girlfriend Mira, is one of the most gripping sections of prose in the contemporary literature. Mira is married to one of the best friends of Ritwik and is back in Patna for some reason. First person narration is used excellently by Siddharth Chowdhury who knows very well that the events would be brought to life this way, otherwise difficult with any other point of view. Even if you read just this section of the book, the money invested in the book is recovered right away.

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